Charles Young, first Black superintendent of federal parkland. Photo Credit: © Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

United States – Charles Young, First African American superintendent of federal parkland

Charles Young (March 12, 1864 – January 8, 1922) achieved many honors in the United States military.  He was the third African-American to graduate from the United States Military Academy, the first black military attaché, and the first Black man to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army.   When he died in 1922, he was the highest-ranking Black officer in the regular army.

But nineteen years before his death, in 1903, Charles Young was appointed as the first African American first Black superintendent of federal parkland. Under his guidance, a group of more than 400 Buffalo Soldiers patrolled Yellowstone, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. They were among the world’s first national park rangers. On March 25, 2013, President Barack Obama designated the home of Charles Young in Xenia, Ohio, a national monument.



  • Bain News Service, Publisher. Major Charles Young. , 1916. date created or published later by Bain. Photograph.